Stage One Initial contact and Home Visit
Please do not be anxious about contacting us – we promise not to put you under any pressure. We are happy to answer your questions and we need to ask questions to make sure that you meet some basic criteria, such as do you have a spare bedroom and live in the right area?
Assuming that these basic criteria are met and you are happy to proceed, we will arrange to come and meet you at your home.
The home visit usually lasts 1-2 hours and gives both parties the chance to ask lots of questions. We find out more about you and you find out more about us and what we can offer. If everyone is happy to proceed you will be given an application form to complete.
If however, having found out more about fostering, you decide that you do not wish to proceed, then do not feel embarrassed to say so. We will also be honest and let you know if we do not feel it is in your interests to proceed.
Stage Two Assessment
If you decide to proceed, you will complete an application form and go into the assessment process. This can take between 3–6 months and is undertaken by a qualified social worker.
It is a thorough process and one which helps people understand what has shaped their lives, prepares them for the challenge of fostering and determines their motivation to foster. As part of this process, we will also undertake statutory checks and personal references, including police checks, personal and employment references and medicals.
The social worker will also meet with your personal referees, members of your household and any adult children you have living away from home to ensure they fully support your intentions to foster.
Stage Three Initial Training
During the assessment period, you will have the opportunity to attend the Skills to Foster™ course that provides the foundation for future learning and development, as well as giving you the confidence to undertake your first placement.
You will also be required to complete a portfolio of evidence to support your assessment.
Stage Four Fostering Panel
After stage 3 has been completed, your assessment and portfolio will be presented to a Fostering Panel. The panel is made of experienced social work practitioners and independent members, who will have carefully considered the report in advance of the panel.
You and your assessor will both attend the fostering panel to enable panel members to meet you, address any points for clarification and hear any final questions you may have.
If the panel is satisfied the requirements regarding your suitability to foster are met, they will make a recommendation to approve you as a foster carer.
The ultimate decision to approve lies with the agency decision maker, who will carefully consider the recommendation made by the fostering panel.